Flexible institutionalization : a critical examination of the Chinese perspectives on dispute settlement for the Belt and Road

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-85
Journal / PublicationAsia Pacific Law Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


This paper critically introduces a few Chinese perspectives on dispute settlement for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as presented in the articles included in this special issue. It starts with proposing the theory of ‘flexible institutionalisation’ as an analytical framework to capture the nature and intention behind China’s effort in developing BRI dispute resolution mechanism, followed by an examination of the legal characteristics of – and the legal changes facing – dispute settlement in the BRI, which has not been thoroughly addressed and analysed in the existing literature. It then offers an overview of the Chinese effort to establish a China-led dispute settlement system for the BRI. With this background, the paper presents the main argument and perspective in each article in this special issue. It concludes with reflections on the shortcomings of the special issue to the literature on BRI dispute settlement, as well as, the concerns China has to take into consideration in its ambition to construct China-led mechanisms for dispute settlement for the Belt and Road.